Otters live in the sea or in rivers and they hunt for fish, shellfish and other animals. You might think they’re related to seals, but they’re actually related to weasels and badgers. North American river otters live along rivers in many parts of the United States. Sea otters spend most of their lives in the ocean, coming onto land only to rest. Giant otters live in South American rivers, feeding on frogs, eggs, and even anaconda snakes.
Otters have webbed feet and are expert swimmers. River otters can dive 60 feet or more. Sea otters dive even deeper in search of food.
Fun Facts about Otters for Kids
- Sea otters rest and sleep by floating on their backs. They groom their fur so it stays water-repellent.
- Sea otters live in the northern Pacific Ocean, along the coasts of California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Russia and Japan.
- Sea otters use rocks to break open clam and mussel shells.
- River otters love to slide down muddy hills or ice into the water. Mothers and babies play together.
- Sea otters have the thickest hair of any mammal. Their fur helps keep them warm in cold water.
- River otters live in underground dens.
- Webbed: webbing in between each toe or finger
- Expert: very good or knowledgeable
- Muddy: wet, slick, dirty
- Den: hole or burrow
Learn More All About Otters
Watch a video of a playful otter:
A playful otter in the San Diego Zoo.
Question: Do sea otters get tired of swimming?
Answer: Sometimes they rest near beaches. They anchor themselves with seaweed so they don’t float away.
Question: Are otters dangerous?
Answer: No. Otters are afraid of humans and will hide. If cornered, they might scratch and bite. They are cute, but wild.